Monthly Archives: October 2013

Quick Summary

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Vilde and I are making our own food, Daalbhaat. For every time we make it the spices increase. We are getting better and better,. Our goal is to be as good as the locals.

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Friday: We got the opportunity to do some manual labor. We helped clean the Nbcbs’s garden.

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Saturday: We joined Rachel in her church. Here I experienced the wirdest feeling. I felt naked on my head!

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After church Rachel invited us to her home. We were served lunch, tasted great.

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Sunday: Sharad showed us one of the eldest churches. Every Sundays they have english worship meetings. That was so nice to finally be able to understand the whole happening from start to end. We also got to sing english songs which felt so great.

(Sharad, P.A. thomas, Vilde)

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Monday and Wednesday: Vilde and I have now started Nepali lessons. We are also having fellowship with children from “One way home”. We told them the story of the three piglets and the bad wolf. We then drew the story. It was so much fun because the kids were so exited and loved to draw.

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Tuesday: I showed Vilde where i have lived and the school i went to (KISC). It was so cool walking down the same streets i have walked so many times before. There were many changes. There were new stores and there was a lot of road work going on, but i was still able to recognize the roads and I got a lot of flashbacks.

My house (or the gate to my house):

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KISC:

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Road work:

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Vilde buying a ncall card for her phone:

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On our way home we chose to take the bus because we had walked for such a long time. When we took the bus it suddently took a wird turn. We knew we had taken the right bus so we got so confused. We then understood that it stoped to get more diesel. Vilde and i were laughing so hard. The bus was packed, but come on the bus must have diesel…

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Thursday: Preparing bible studdy. We needed inspiration so we went out and ate momo.  We went for a walk and sat close to the road. Here is a part of the road to the “Norwegian house” where we have Nepali lessons.

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We have now had three Nepali lessons. I know understand 1% more then before.  I am so pleased.

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My Identity

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confusedOne of my hopes coming to Nepal was to be able to better understand who I am. So when people or when I wonder “Kaja who are you” I know somewhat, what to answer. Am I Norwegian or Nepali was my main question. Coming to Nepal  was suppose to help me. However, by coming here I realized that it is not as easy as am I Norwegian or Nepali. The question now is also am I a “NEWARI”. Now what does that mean?

My birth name was, Rita Shresta. This means that I belong to the Newari group. There are many ethnic groups here in Nepal. They have all a language, which is quite different from each other, and the Nepali language. I have met many people who belong to the Newari group. When I inform them that I also am a Newari or was born in a newari family, they ask me if I know their language. I just look at them and say “no”. Then they tell me how important it is for me to know my own mother tongue. I am so confused. I tell them that “I think I will start learning Nepali first, and then maybe learn some newari”. They don’t really except this answer. They suggest that I learn it simultaneously. I just smile and allow them to teach me some Newari language. Therefore know I know how to say “ Taske balla” (very good).

I live in Kathmandu valley. As mentioned before it is made up of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. I live in Laitpure. Well, in all of these three cities there is a palace square. Many years back there used to be a ruler in each of the palaces that ruled Kathmandu valley. They were all newari people. The Kathmandu valley has a long history with the newari people. So, today most of the newari people are to be found in Bhaktapur were we visited on Wednesday. They have their own language, their own bricks for buildings houses, their own forms for windows, they have their own form for making old people socialize and they are very religious. When we were in Bhaktapur we got to see all of this.

Did I feel more at home there? Well I am not in such contact with my Newari side. However, by being in Nepal I am sort of forced to understand and learn more about the Newari people. I do not really mind this, but it can be too much sometimes. Wherever I go around in the Kathmandu valley, I meet people who are Newari or try to teach me more Newari. Therefore, now I also know “Sikke Balla” which aslo means “very good”.

I still think the biggest issue for me is am I a Norwegian or Nepali woman with Newari genes. Or does there need to be this or in the middle?

When Vilde and I were in Pokhara we went to many tourist places. We went and saw many things. The price for the tourists were sometimes 10x as much as for the Nepali people, and other times 5x more expensive. Well my point is that I could have easily “lied” and said that I was a Nepali. Now would that actually have been a lie? My passport says that I am a Norwegian citizen, but is my passport the one to define who I am? When people say to me that you are laying by saying, you are a Nepali woman. I think to myself really, why?

But then again on the other side, I sometimes prefer calling myself a Norwegian woman. When I am in difficult situations, I just say that I am Norwegian. Am I using it as an excuse to get out of the situation, or am I telling the true here as well?

 

Bhaktapur

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This is the most interesting thing I have gotten to know until now, about the geographic of Nepal. I have lived in Kathmandu for 5 years OR so I was told. Just now, found out that I have been living in Lalitpur. It is a totally different city. Ok not so far away from Kathmandu and it is difficult to separate them, BUT the important thing is that I have never ever lived in Kathmandu. NOT even now. I have and still am living in Lalitpur. However, I have lived in Kathmandu valley. This valley is made up of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.

Well so on Wednesday we went to Bhaktapur (one of the cities in Kathmandu valley). We were to meet Nishan a former Hald student. We took a bus to reach Bhaktapur. This was the first time we went all alone on the bus. We had to pay ourselves, make sure that we got the right price, and we had to know where to get off the bus. And of cours this one day when Vilde and I were to take the bus ALONE the bus was so crazy packed (might be because of the “Dasain” festival. There is less trafic and less busses because people go home to their home towns to be with their families). Vilde and I were hugging people unwillingly and we were crunched into other people. The worst part was when someone from the back of the bus was going off. They just squeezed their way out where there did not exist a way. People fell and even though the bus was packed, it did not hinder people entering the bus.

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Well when we had asked many people where our stop might be we managed to get off on the rite one. Nishan came and showed us around his hometown. He took us to this really cool “sidapokhari (genuine pound)” (fish pound). It was so cool. We got to feed the fishes.

“Sidapokhari”

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Vilde, fish food, me

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Vilde, Fish food and Nishan Nagarkoti

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Vilde and I were then starving so we went and ate momo. This is maybe the Nepali fast food. I love it.

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He then invited us to his home. This is something I really enjoy with the Nepali people. They are so open and are always very quick at inviting us to their church and home. We were served “kalo chia (blad tea)”, biscutes and fruites. We shared about Hald and he told about his time in Norway and Hald. It is so cool to meet the former Hald students. Nishan is the third student we have met until now.

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Back “home”

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Vilde and I are now finally back in our apartment. The journey to Pokhara was fun, but being in Kathmandu and getting ready to start our work here is even better. We came back on Monday and we imagined that Tuesday would be a chill day. It was sort of a chill day, just with a lot of action.

Tuesday morning. Vilde and I learned how to make bhat and takari. Sanjana, Sharads wife, thought us. She was so helpful. She showed were we could buy the things we needed, the spices, the vegetables and the rest. Vilde and I are so lucky having a grocery store rite next to our house and a vegetable market very close by. Sanjana had a sort of cooking class with us. I must admit it did not seem so hard, though Vilde and I have not tried it out by ourselves yet. 

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Me and Vilde enjoying “our” first home cooked meal.

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Tuesday afternoon, Vilde and I attended a baby dedication ceremony. A woman came in the morning inviting Sharad and his family to the ceremony. Somehow we were invited as well. The ceremony was so interesting. It is somewhat a tradition, ritual. It was the family members, some close friends (including Vilde and I) and the pastor that was invited. We prayed for the baby and the family. Then like in many other gatherings, the guests got Dhalbhat (rice + meat + potatoes). 

 Vilde and i got the opportunity to hold the sweet baby girl named: Beyoncé

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Tuesday evening. Bikram our new and great friend wanted to be with us. He has vacation now because of the “Dhasain” festival. Most of the schoolchildren have one month free from school now. Bikram was so kind and showed us around Kathmandu. He was our free guide, packed with information about Kathmandu Valley. 

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Later we all went to our apartment. We got our FIRST visitor. It was so much fun. We served him coffee and Norwegian chocolate. He served us Choco pie.

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Pokhara, 6 days

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We have not even been here for one week and we are on our way to our second camp.  It is Wendsday and we are sitting on the bus on our way to Pokhara. It takes 7 hours with breaks and bad roades. The bustrip went really well. The bus was small with not enough seats for everyone, but “no problem” here. They just “make place”.  Vilde and I sat so close to each other i could feel her body heat making me swet even more.

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This conference is held by the CGF. The conference was for the graduates. I thought it was just newly graduates, but no. In the camp there were actually some just graduates, but mostly old people with their families. I was so worried having been to the youth camp with all the long lecures, coming to the graduates’ camp with people from the next generation. We did not know here either what to expect.

However, the conference was so much more fun then the youth camp. What made the camp so much more enjoyeble for us was that they had “get to know each other” games. There was this kind of program leader who was very enerjetic and just talked and talked and made it so casual and fun. We had to intreduse ourselves more then five times. In the end i became very good at knowing i lived in “Nakoh in Lallitpor” in Kathmandu.

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In this camp, we learned more about Apologetics and we learned about marriage. It was all very interesting, even though it was in Nepali. Bikram translated very well for us.

The second day at the conference, we attended the morning walk. We had to wake up at 5am. It was crazy, but worth it. We got to see the beautiful mountains with fishtale. We also got to see a hug tempel where because of the “Dashain” festival there were many people in line for worshiping their Gods.

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a man, Bikram, Vilde and VJ.

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We also met a former Hald student.  He had attended Hald in 2011- 2012. It was really fun talking to him and sharing experiances and talking about Norway.

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Also this day there was some sightsing around Pokhara. That was so much fun. We saw Davi’s fall and went to the lakeside and took boat trips around a little island with a tempel in it. We also went to this park, had games, and socialized. This also made the camp more fun. (To be honest i thought the youth camp was to be something like this and not the CGF-conference)

Davi’s Fall:

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The lakeside in our boats on our way to the tempel.

 

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Vilde and Bikram having fun on the island

 

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Bikram, Me, Vilde, Vj’s friend, Hezron

 

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The rest of the camp went by very nicely except that the womans toilet became blocked the third day we were there. So sad but we were leaving so it was fine. The people we had traveled with to the camp now took the same bus back, but Vilde and I were going to stay in Pokhara for three more days. Now we are tourists.

We got to stay with Gobinda and his family. They lived not so far away from the church where the camp was held. They were a really sweet family.  Gobinda showed his church and we attended an engagment party. This party was so intresting for all they did was echange gifts. This was to be a symbol, like an engagement ring, that they were now to be together. They exchange gifts insted of rings because it is more cheep. They then exchange rings when they get married.

Gobinda and his doughter taking a walk, showing Vilde and me his place. The picture to the right is the view from his front door. AMAZING!!

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We went to this near by football feeld and the mountains were so cool. Wherever we walked in Pokahara we could see he mountains so very well.

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Gobinda also took us to see the mountains, with fishtail, even closer.  We had to wake up 4am. We took a taxi for quit a long time and we reached this hill. We came to the hilltop where there was this tower. The purpose of coming here was to be able to see the sunrise, BUT it was too cloudy. That was so sad, however the view was still amazing. (It is quit ironic how when we were far away from the mountains they looked so great and when we came closer they looked not SO good. i think it also had to do something with the poor light so early in the moring and the lack of sunlight because of the clouds.)

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We got to see the Pokhara valley really good from the view point.

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By staying with Gobindas family for the extra three days gave Vilde and me some more bonding time. It was so nice. We talked and found out that we had many thoughts in comon. However, we both agreed that coming back “home” to Kathmandu would be nice. We have been so busy for sutch a long time now and need som rest, some pease in mind. When we came home we were so hungry for the bus never stoped on the trip “home”. Therefore when we came “home” we opend one of our norwegian sheeses and ate with norwegian crackers. It was amazing after not eating anything, except some candy and chips for 7 hours. We were also very pleased with having the internett back having leaved without it for 6 days.

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Our first camp

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Sunday to Tusday we were attending a youth camp for secondary highschoolers. At Hald I learned that when I come to a new culture i should think like this: the new culture is not BETTER, it is not WORSE, it is just DIFFRENT. That thought has helped me so much these three days. I know I am Nepali, but i have never been part of something like this before either. This camp was so very much DIFFRENT then the cmaps that i am used to in Norway.

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There were 154 students attending the camp. They were so exited to be there. Vilde and me did not know what to expect. The camp was held in a church beacuse it was cheeper to lend. The picture on the right is the church. It was nice.

Then the program started. It was 7am Monday morning. It was first a song for worshiping and then preaching. In Norway i am used to one man or woman who comes and preaches to us for maybe one hour or less. Here they had 11 preaches or lectures that lasted for 45min. Or they were sopose to last for 45min, but here in Nepal they have Nepali time which means they can go on for as long as they please. Therfore the spoke person usualy spoke for 30min extra. Because of this even though they had a scedual that they tried to follow, but it never work.

For Vilde and me to sit still and listen for 45min +++ was so difficult. The students around us were so excelent in sitting still. We had to lean agains the wall, even though that was not alound. In the church all the boys sit on the right side and the girls on the left side. They do this still even on a youth camp because it is tradition they told me. In the picture under we are singing a song. The Huge diffrence from Norway and Nepal camp was that

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in Norway we play many games and have much action. In Nepal they have many lectures for a long time. The Nepali people enjoy this. The breakes they had lasted for 5min or they played one song. The breakfest in Nepal or this camp was really inresting. On Monday we had two biscuts and black tea. then on Tusday we had two white bread with jam and one egg and black tea. then the third day we had this:

IMG_4320In the picture to the right it is beens and a sort of rice that does not need to be cooked. It was a heavy breakfest but good.

On this camp we also got new friends. That was so fun. We got to know so much more about the nepali culture. Rachel one of the voulentiers for the CBS was to translate for us. She was so good at making us feel included. Because of this we got a really nice friendship going on with her. We also got to know a girl named Sarun, two boyes named Hezron, Bikram and VJ.

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In the picture to the left the people included are: from left to right: Rachel, Vilde, VJ and Bikram. Here we are eating breakfest the third day.

 Sahron is the doughter of Shard. She is 15 years old and in this camp we got to know each other so much better. When Rachel was bussy Sahron translated for us. Her english is very good. She is so meture for her age which made it so much fun to talk with her.

                 Sharon, me and Rachel.

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Me and Rachel

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On Monday Vilde and me had a presentation of Norway. This was our first challang so far, and i think we did a great job. They atleast seamed intrested. We also played a game and we tought them “å du som metter”. One of the Norwegian blessing songs for the food. This is P1040855us holding the presentation. I am so proud of us. We are on the highway of becoming meture. The feeling after having talked infront of 154 youths was good.

My first experiences

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We have been here for three days now, but personally, because of all the impressions that I am filled with i feel like we have been here for one week. Just now the power went out which it does two times a day for some hours. It is ok but then I cannot charge my computer and that sucks. In the picture under is VIlde and me sitting in the darkness. we do have a generater, but the light in the livingroom does not work.

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Vilde and me were just about to prepare our first PowerPoint presentation that we are to hold for a camp that the NBC (the youth group of the NBCBS that we are working with, (Laget i Nepal).) has arranged. It starts tomorrow and lasts for three days. On Monday, we get one hour to talk about Norway so I think that will go ok. Well now, I feel like I am rushing here. Just to give you all a fast update on what I have been through very roughly until now.

Thursday 03.10.13: we arrived to Nepal. Sharad the general secretary for NBCBS came and picked us up. He showed us around in our apartment, which is one floor above from theirs. We are the third floor. The first is the NBCBS office. The fourth flour is new. They started to build it in 2011. The room in the fourth floor is used for bible study and gatherings with the CBS leaders.

Friday 04.10.13: Sharad is so nice to us and lets us eat with them, but he says that from the 16 October we have to start making food for ourselves. He was so sweet and made breakfast for us today. He tried to cook something for us but it failed so he just bought some from the store. So therefore, our breakfast was cake with peanut butter. It was the sweetest breakfast I have had for a very long time. He also gave us coffee with more sugar than you can imagine, though it did taste good. In addition, he gave us sweet orange juice.

After breakfast, VJ the secretary for the CBS (youth group) showed Vilde and me around. He showed us where we could buy food and where we could take out money. He showed us Javlakel (i think I spelled it wrong, I will correct it later). Anyways this is where I lived for 5 years with my family when I was younger. Therefore, when he showed us around I felt like I was talking more than him, and explaining things to Vilde.  I could not help it I was so excited to see all the familiar places. It was so fun to get all the associations and memories. Then VJ showed us a Nepali restaurant where we ate Dhal Baht (the national dish in Nepal). It was so good. The rest of the day, we just slept and rested.

Saturday 05.10.13: In Nepal Saturday is the day one goes to the church. Today Sharad wanted to show his church. Vilde and I were so insecure on what to wear, but when we arrived, we saw that they were all wearing different things. However, most of the woman did were either sari or kurta. The sermon started at 10 and ended at 13. It lasted for a long time but it was fine. There were approximately three hundred people there.

When I went to church, I look at the world through my Norwegian glasses. What I mean by this is that I feel like I am a Norwegian girl. When I look at the other people, I feel like Vilde. Then I look at my hands and remember that I actually look like them. One of my concerns has been how the Nepali people will react to me looking like them, coming back to Nepal, and proclaiming that I am Norwegian. Today in church, I got three different reactions to this.

1)     This woman herd me trying to speak  Nepali to Vilde. She turned to us and asked what we were trying to say. She was very kind and helped us pronounce it properly. She liked that I was born in Nepal returning to Nepal. She smiled and wished us all the best.

2)     A man came up to us and started to talk to me in Nepali. I answered: Nepali Aundeina (I do not understand Nepali) he just looked at me and continued to speak Nepali. Then he said “it is good to know your mother tongue”. Then he spoke some more Nepali and left. He was polite and all, but did not really understand why I did not know Nepali.

3)     Then there was this man who was from UK who was visiting the church. He asked Vilde and me if we were from Norway. We said yes. Then I said I was born in Nepal. Then he looked at me and said: “did you not say you were Norwegian?” I then tried to explain to him that I was adopted, but he just looked at me. Then he just nodded and smiled.

If I am to pick my favorite reaction it would be the first one, but on the other side, I somewhat just have to except the fact that I will get many different reactions. I might even get different reactions then the once I have mentioned here.

When we came home from the church Vilde and I were invited to join the CBS meeating. they were prepering for the camp. They gave us a worm welcome and gave us flowers and a scarf. IMG_4273